THE BLOG

Big Insights, Frank Abagnale and Truth

28/03/2013 16:15 GMT | Updated 25/05/2013 10:12 BST

Mobile creative, big data, monetisation, programmatic buying, Web 3.0, brand personalization, digital cinema - you name it, they're talking about it at Advertising Week Europe. Whether you're a 20-something up-and-coming creative director or a seasoned (grey haired) marketing pro, the energy is definitely electric here. Here are my favorite moments from the third day of Advertising Week Europe.

Weve Leadership Breakfast packs a mobile punch.

My day got off to an exciting start at the Weve Leadership Breakfast. Just by looking at how packed the room was, it was pretty clear just how top of mind mobile is on everyone's minds. Moderated by Havas Global CEO David Jones, the panel's powerhouse mobile carriers (and their CEOs) described their ambitious plan to combine their user bases of 15 million British mobile users to offer brand advertisers scale in their effort to access services like mobile payment, loyalty programs and through deep carrier consumer data, give advertisers the ability to reach consumers in a much more relevant way. It's no surprise mobile operators have been somewhat on the outskirts of the mobile ad spend pie. Maybe Weve will finally find a way to insert these carriers into the equation in a meaningful way and, as a result, provide a model for other countries with fractured carrier models.

It's all about truth, privacy and identity.

Once I had some food in my stomach and a little time to absorb what I heard earlier in the morning, I headed over to one panel session that was getting a lot of attention - Mission Impossible II: Truth, Privacy and Piracy. "Catch Me If You Can" real-life star Frank Abagnale recounted his own personal experiences of how he made a career out of duping and fooling friends, family, employers and the government into believing he was something he really wasn't. Now an FBI security expert for the last 37 years, Abagnale is a great example of learning from your mistakes and has since paid back all of his ill-gotten cash.

It made me realize just how sacred truth, privacy and identity are in the bigger scheme for both brands and consumers. It's a great lesson for brands to be authentic and true in every advert, message and download they deliver to consumers. Is your mobile video ad authentic and engaging? Can you honestly say your banner ad answers the promise made when consumers click on it? Can consumers trust the safety of their identity when they click "purchase" on their smartphones and tablets? As much as I'm sure brands want to say "yes" to all of these questions, we're not there yet. But acknowledging that you're not always transparent or authentic is the first step. The next step is making sure you can deliver on that promise to consumers because, let's face it, they'll respond more favourably (clicks, downloads, video views and purchases) if they can trust you and vice versa.

Monetisation matters.

When I saw the topic and impressive list of speakers for the panel, The Guardian: Monetisation Masters, I was intrigued. Talk about a powerhouse of insight all on one stage - Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo! UK, Criteo, SponsorPay, RadiumOne and PwC. And all of it was focused on how digital, mobile and social can work together to deliver ROI, what it means specifically for each medium, and the best ways to execute (creatively) and measure it.

One thing that stood out to me is that mobile-centered advertising isn't as "unheard of" or preposterous as it once was when I presented at Cannes Lions last year. One year later and I'm happy to say mobile-centered advertising is better understood. The message has caught on so much so that a back-and-forth battle unraveled on stage. Standing firmly on one side of the debate was Michael Steckler, EVP Global Business Operations at Criteo. "The job of online advertising is to convert the final sale, and a point of sale should be included in an advert to facilitate this," he said. To that, the panel retorted almost in unison that advertising has two functions - to inspire and to harvest demand. And what better way to harvest that demand than with mobile devices which allow consumers to engage in multiple activities (simultaneously) wherever they are, 24/7.